Change is the only constant. Merrell is a perfect example of how an established shoe manufacturer can work hand-in-hand with the changing times. Merrell understands that as much as many runners would embrace the barefoot running experience, not all are willing to switch cold-turkey, thus the powerful invention of the Merrell Bare Access shoes.
The barefoot-inspired Merrell Bare Access shoes encourage natural motion and, at the same time, keep the cushy midsole. This pair of zero-drop (same stack height at the heel as the ball of the foot) shoes gives a “barefoot feel, with added toe to heel cushioning”.
As a strict vegan, I squealed with delight upon knowing that this pair of shoes is made of synthetic leather and nylon mesh – no animals are harmed. This can also contribute to the reason why it is extremely light, weighing at less than 6 ounces per shoe (this should be the first facet of a minimalist shoes – light in weight).
Speaking of love, there was one thing I had a hard time showing affection for – the colours of the footwear. As an outgoing person who yearns to lead a vibrant life, white and grey can be a foe. Nevertheless, off my feet slip into the humble pair of shoes.
I was not expecting much initially, but once I tried them on, I was amazed at how spacious the toe-box is. Stretching is vital for any sport, and with Merrell Bare Access, I was able to stretch my toes as wide I possibly could. I would not consider it awkwardly big, but roomy and comfortable.
Prior to this, I had been a runner guilty of landing on my toes, tiptoeing throughout my runs (I really mean TIPTOE, far from forefoot strike). Something in me whispered in my head, “These shoes could help me kick the bad habit.”
I am not skilled in telling the future, but I was right. The only reason I could give is that this pair of simple-looking shoes wrap around my feet perfectly, unlike my previous ones which were too tight for me, especially at the toes.
I took it to the shoes for a 5km jog on the pavement for my first try. Just into the first kilometer, I was impressed with how comfortable and soft they felt on my feet. If I had known, I would have ran sockless without worrying about getting awful blisters when stepping in new shoes.
Going The Distance
I went a little further in distance for my second run in these pair of babies. It was a long run of 20km before the sun came up, with the course on pavements and road.
The shoes amazed me once again with its ability to take the distance. Its nylon mesh helped in ventilation, its lightweight property prevented my legs from getting tired too early. They are too comfortable, I felt like I could run in them forever!
- Extremely light
- Nylon mesh provides amazing ventilation
- Spacious toe-box
- Heel-collar is thin and soft, designed for sockless use
- Zero drop
- Gives slightly lesser ground feel than its minimalist-shoes counterparts
At the end of the day, who cared about the colours of the shoes? Wearing a bright neon pink singlet would suffice!